Most agriculturalists argue that increased use of insecticides and colony collapse disorder have caused honey bees to become endangered.
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Moreover, some organizations who claim to be dedicated to saving bees have been blaming farmers for the continued decrease in the number of bee species in the world.
Farmers are also suffering from the loss of essential bee species that pollinate their crops.
Colony collapse disorder refers to a situation where most of the worker bees leave a colony, leaving behind lots of food, the queen and few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees.
Colony collapse disorder causes severe economic losses because many crops around the world are pollinated by western honey bees.
The shortage of bees in America has increased the cost of renting bees for pollination of crops. There are many causes of colony collapse disorder including malnutrition, pathogens, loss of habitat as well as changing beekeeping practices.
Insecticides in the class of neonicotinoids have a devastating effect on bees’ population and are credited for causing colony collapse disorder in North America.
Neonicotinoids chemically resemble nicotine and affect the central nervous system of insects, thereby causing death or paralysis. These chemicals were developed in the 1990s by Bayer and Shell companies.
Which bees species are endangered?
There are over 20,000 different species of bees in the world, and the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees have become endangered in the US for many years.
Declining numbers of many bee species have been noted around the world, and there is a high probability that more bees will be added to this category in the coming years.
The Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are found in Hawaii and surrounding islands. They can be found in a wide range of habitats including forests, coastlines and shrub landscapes.
Some of the reasons why bees may be endangered include habitat loss, pesticides, and anthropogenic causes.
In 7 years, America has witnessed a decline of 1.6 million bees per year, leading to over 10 million bees dead. Most environmental groups have proposed that more bee species be added to this list of endangered species including the rusty-patched bumble bee.
Here are the bee species that have been declared endangered species:
1. Hylaeus Anthracinus
This bee species is commonly referred to as the anthricinan yellow-faced bee. It is native to the Hawaii Island and was added to the list of endangered species in September 2016.
It is distinguished by a single sizeable facial mark which may fill the region below the antennae. In normal circumstances, you may find its large numbers.
However, due to habitat destruction, its population has continued to decrease exponentially.
2. Hylaeus Longiceps
This bee species is also known as a long-head yellow-faced bee. It is also endemic to the Hawaii and surrounding islands.
The bee is black and has smoky-colored wings. The male has a yellow band on its face while the female is completely black.
This bee species lives in coastal and lowland dry shrubland. Most of its habitat has been developed or destroyed, and their host plants no longer grow in the region.
Just like the Athracinus, this bee species is endangered by habitat loss.
3. Hylaeus Assimulans
There are over 20,000 different species of bees in the world, and the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees have become endangered in the US for many years. Declining numbers of many bee species have been noted around the world, and there is a high probability that more bees will be added to this category in the coming years.
It is also known as Assimulans yellow-faced bee. It is also native to Hawaii and was added to the Endangered Species Act of the US in September of 2016.
It is relatively large compared to other types of Hawaiian bee species. Threats include predation by non-native insects, fires and climate change.
4. Hylaeus facilis
This bee species is also known as an easy yellow-faced bee. It is endemic to Hawaii and is known from two populations. This bee species is of medium size and has smoky wings.
Male Hylaeus facilis bees have a larger oval yellow spot on the lower part of the face and a yellow strip next to the eye while the females are black, without stripes.
5. Hylaeus hilaris
The hylaeus hilaris bee is also known as hilaris yellow-faced bee. Also indigenous to Hawaii, this bee species was also listed among endangered bee species in America in 2016.
The outstanding feature of this species is the almost red metasoma. Their females may have some brown markings.
6. Hylaeus kuakea
The Hawaiian yellow-faced bee is indigenous to Hawaii. It is small and black colored. Even though it has some facial markings resembling all the other Hylaeus genus species, it also has an ivory-colored marking on its lower face.
7. Hylaeus Mana
It is also a yellow-faced bee and is native to Hawaii. It ranks as the smallest of the Hawaiian species and is colored black with yellow facial markings.
Even though the male has a largely yellow face, the female’s face is characterized by three marked lines. It is under predation by non-native plants and insects as well as fires.
These are the seven bee species that were listed for protection under the United States Endangered Species Act in September 2016.
The rusty patched bumble bee may also make it to the list in the coming years due to colony collapse disorder.
What will the world be without bees?
Most people view bees are tiny insects with an annoying buzzing sound and could sting you at any little provocation.
Bees may also be a lethal threat if you happen to allergic to them.
Did you know that bees contribute 15 billion worth of crop value in America every year? This means that agriculture could collapse when bees become extinct.
Bees are responsible for the food we eat every single day. They help in pollination. One-third of global food supplies is pollinated by bees.
They are directly responsible for the survival of crops and other plants by initiating their reproductive phases.
Without bees, human beings would not have less to eat.
Many crops are pollinated by bees, and they include almonds, apricots, eggplants, kiwis, mangoes, okra, peaches, peppers, tangerines, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, coffee and cucumbers among many others. You would not be taking coffee every morning or enjoy an apple in the afternoon if bees became extinct.
The world would be filled with limited and boring food composition because most of your favorite dishes will be impossible to make.
Crops will cease to exist without bees. Therefore, you must work harder at taking care of the bees so that they multiply and improve crop production for the ever-growing human population.
Low availability of fruits and vegetables
Crops depend on pollination to produce fruits. Bees are the major players in pollination, whether it is cross or self-pollination.
If bees reduce drastically within a region, then only a few plants will be able to reproduce successfully because, without pollination, no plant can produce fruit.
The overall effect is low productivity.
Higher prices of fruits and vegetables
When the supply of a product is limited, its price automatically shoots up. This is what will happen soon with fruits and vegetables if no action is taken to protect the bee populations across the world.
There will be a reduction in fruits and grains produced each year from the fields with limited pollination, yet the human population continues to increase by the day.
If bees do not have enough to eat, human beings will not have enough to eat. You have to change your notion towards bees immediately if you want to eat fresh and nice fruits in the future.
The pollinators have to be protected from the current harsh environment that they are exposed to from toxic insecticides such as neonicotinoids to the continued destruction of their habitats by ambitious urban developers.
Why is beekeeping a critical thing to do?
It is estimated that a third of all the fruits you consume today rely on pollination by bees. Most fruits and vegetables that form part of our daily meals depend on bees to get produced.
Moreover, even if a crop does not benefit directly from pollination by a bee, there are other benefits that it enjoys such as increased biodiversity of plants within its surrounding.
Here are the reasons why beekeeping is essential:
1. They play an essential role in pollination
You understand that a third of food products directly depends on cross-pollination by bees. By preserving and multiplying the bee population in your farm or region, you will be directly increasing food production within your state.
By fulfilling the reproduction process in plants, bees are responsible for seeds that will be needed during crops planting season.
2. Bees play their part in the animal food chain
Alfalfa is a plant that is fed on by cows. It is dependent on cross-pollination by leafcutter bees to reproduce.
Apart from helping human beings, bees also provide continuity in the food chain. A huge percentage of birds and animals are dependent on berries and other fruits produced by plants at the bottom of the food chain for survival.
Therefore, if bees fail to pollinate the flowers of these plants, birds, and animals will not have any food to eat. They will starve to death and in the process cause a discontinuity in the food chain.
Human beings may be caught in the process because there will no longer be animals to feed on.
3. Economic importance of bees in the economy
In 2006, bees were responsible for 200 billion Dollars’ worth of food in the whole world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
In 2010, the worth of food production dependent on agriculture in the US was 15 billion Dollars. This implies that bees are increasingly becoming critical to the economies of countries across the world.
4. Bees benefit biodiversity
Apart from contributing to the pollination of crops, bees also play a significant role in beautifying the landscapes around us. They pollinate trees, bushes, and gardens, thereby enhancing the beauty and diversity of our landscapes.
Who would not want an environment with beautiful flowers?
5. Trees are also dependent on bees
Even though you only know of crops being pollinated by flowers, trees are also pollinated by bees and other insects.
Trees play an essential role in the eco-system, including stabilizing of soil structure, providing the much-needed oxygen to animals and human beings and supporting animals as a shelter from sunlight and rain.
6. Bee products may be sold
Apart from honey, there are other products produced by bees that can be used to make useful products. These valuable non-food apiary products include propolis, beeswax, queen substance, and pollen.
They are used to make cleaning and beauty products.
Bees have many more benefits to the entire ecosystem. With these examples, you can see the critical role this insect plays on earth.
From contributing to the animal food chain to being responsible for a third of the food you eat at your table every single day, this animal deserves to be protected.
You can save the bees
There are many ways through which you can save bees in this world. Apart from continuously advocating for banning of harmful insecticides from use in farms, you can implement the following things:
Plant a garden
This is a simple step that has a significant effect on the survival of bee populations in the world. Plant flowers in your garden and do not contaminate them with pesticides to avoid paralyzing or killing of bees.
By increasing the number of flowers on the planet, bees will have a better chance of getting the nutrition they are looking for. When we have more bees, our population will be safer from extinction.
Diversify flowers in different locations
By planting a wide variety of flowers in each location, you will be contributing to a healthy population of bees and crops. Plant different types of flowers, both in rural and urban environments.
Fight climate change
Climate change is responsible for the destruction of the bee habitats across the world. Trees and shrubs have become extinct in the process of climate change.
You can stop and reverse climate change planting more trees and reducing pollution to the environment.
Bees are directly responsible for our existence because they pollinate the plants that make up a third of our food production.
More bee species are becoming extinct each year because of the dangerous chemicals used on crops as well as the destruction of habitat by rapid urban development.
If you love clean food, then you will have to support bees in every way that you can!